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Prey Hardcover – Nov 25 2002
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In Prey, bestselling author Michael Crichton introduces bad guys that are too small to be seen with the naked eye but no less deadly or intriguing than the runaway dinosaurs that made 1990's Jurassic Park such a blockbuster success.
High-tech whistle-blower Jack Forman used to specialize in programming computers to solve problems by mimicking the behavior of efficient wild animals--swarming bees or hunting hyena packs, for example. Now he's unemployed and is finally starting to enjoy his new role as stay-at-home dad. All would be domestic bliss if it were not for Jack's suspicions that his wife, who's been behaving strangely and working long hours at the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, is having an affair. When he's called in to help with her hush-hush project, it seems like the perfect opportunity to see what his wife's been doing, but Jack quickly finds there's a lot more going on in the lab than an illicit affair. Within hours of his arrival at the remote testing center, Jack discovers his wife's firm has created self-replicating nanotechnology--a literal swarm of microscopic machines. Originally meant to serve as a military eye in the sky, the swarm has now escaped into the environment and is seemingly intent on killing the scientists trapped in the facility. The reader realizes early, however, that Jack, his wife, and fellow scientists have more to fear from the hidden dangers within the lab than from the predators without. The monsters may be smaller in this book, but Crichton's skill for suspense has grown, making Prey a scary read that's hard to set aside, though not without its minor flaws. The science in this novel requires more explanation than did the cloning of dinosaurs, leading to lengthy and sometimes dry academic lessons. And while the coincidence of Xymos's new technology running on the same program Jack created at his previous job keeps the plot moving, it may be more than some readers can swallow. But, thanks in part to a sobering foreword in which Crichton warns of the real dangers of technology that continues to evolve more quickly than common sense, Prey succeeds in gripping readers with a tense and frightening tale of scientific suspense. --Benjamin Reese
From Publishers Weekly
The concept of nanotechnology can be traced back to a 1959 speech given by physicist Richard Feynman, in which he offered to pay $1,000 to "the first guy who makes an operating electric motor... which is only 1/64-inch cube." Today the quest is to make machines that would be about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Enter Jack Forman, a recently unemployed writer of predator/prey software, whose nearly absentee wife, Julia, is a bigwig at a tech firm called Xymos. When a car accident hospitalizes Julia, Xymos hires Jack to deal with problems at their desert nanotechnology plant. The techies at this plant have developed nanomachines, smaller than dust specks, which are programmed with Jack's predator/prey software. Not only is a swarm of those nanomachines loose and multiplying, but they appear to be carnivorous. The desert swarms are the least of Jack's worries, however, as the crew inside the plant are not entirely what they seem. Like Jurassic Park, this "it could happen" morality tale is gripping from the start, and Wilson's first-person reading as Jack sets the pace. His confident, flinty voice and his no-nonsense delivery makes this a solid presentation of a high-speed techno-thriller. Crichton gives the audio an air of sobering authenticity by reading its cautionary foreword himself.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It also happens in "Prey". The topic is nanotechnology and the theme of the scientific experiment that escapes from the hands of those who executes it. This latter issue is certainly not something new, but the point of view from which Crichton decides to tell us the story is very special.
Almost the entire novel (except, I believe, one scene), in fact, is told in first person by the husband of the scientist on duty, who for most of the book witnesses strange situations that he does not understand or interprets in the wrong way, thus keeping alive our curiosity, page after page, and by allowing us to find out the facts with him. An approach that helps a complete involvement in the reading.
Yet unlike other novels I've read so far, I've "just" given 4 stars. The reason is perhaps personal: the topic of the swarm of nanoparticles has not impressed me at all. It does not mean that the author hasn't managed it in the best way. Quite the contrary. The swarms, as he describes them, are really scary. But I found it a difficult topic to conceive, especially in respect of the final developments of story, but also the whole part, in which he explains a bit about the frontiers of nanotechnology (information based in part on actual studies confirmed by the bibliography and to which a lot of speculation and fantasy is added) has not won my full interest.Read more ›
Jack's wife Julia works for Xymos Technology, developing technology in what the company calls "molecular manufacturing" or nanotechnology. Since she is the vice president, she is not often present at home.
The plot starts picking up when Julia is severely injured in a car accident, the circumstances of which seem rather mysterious. At the same time, Jack is asked by Tim Bergman to take a consulting job with Xymos. But when Jack joins Xymos at an isolated, sate-of-the-art facility in Nevada, he soon discovers that the technology the company is doing research on is far from flawless...
Perfect suspense combined with lots of technology, this is one of Mr Crichton's most entertaining novels.
George Wilson reading "Prey" is a remarkable performance. I highly recommend this audio book.
Most recent customer reviews
awesome book. I could not put it down. I am looking forward to reading more of his writings when I have timePublished on Nov. 13 2013 by del
It has been said that Crichton's common theme is the evils of technology - in this case how nanotechnology can take over the world. Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2007 by Vick
Really- one of the bests books on tape I've had the pleasure
of listening to. The story was fastpaced and downright creepy. Read more
Even though Michael Crichton's books often start out slow, that is because he is building characters and a world around them for the reader to believe in before taking us on... Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2004 by Mick
I am an audio book "reader". I have a 35-minute ride to work each day and love using my time productively by listening to books on CD. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by MikeDidIt
This is another fast-paced, bio-tech thriller by this author. Expertly weaving his narrative, the author grips the reader with his tale of nanotechnology gone wrong. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2004 by lawyeraau
STORY: As one editorial put so nicely: "Today the quest is to make machines that would be about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2003 by Erik1988
Michael Crichton's latest work comes in a most unexpected way. I found Prey to be a refreshing change from the usual Sci-Fi novel fare. Read morePublished on June 20 2003 by Michael P.